Glengoyne is not only one of the most picturesque distilleries in Scotland, but also an intriguing Single Malt to saveur. In this review, you will discover Glengoyne 21 as I cover the following topics:

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Drink Overview

  • Distillery: Glengoyne Distillery
  • Expression: 21
  • Variety: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Region: Highlands, Scotland
  • Age: 21 years old
  • Casking: Ex-Sherry
  • Cask Strength: 43% ABV
  • Pricing:
    • Reserve Bar: $220 / 75 cl [Buy Now]
    • Drizly: From $200 / 75 cl [Buy Now]
  • Parent: Ian MacLeod Distillers

An intriguing sip that feels like a window in time. Glengoyne 21 is a complex, sherried Single Malt with a rather traditional, old-school profile, reminding me of days long gone, offering peaceful maturation in best-quality casks from Andalucia.


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Glengoyne 21’s Robe


  • Hue: Copper gold
  • Clarity: Crisp
  • Viscosity: Rather thick

A dark, rich copper gold radiates from the glass. The robe is inviting, showing plenty of thick, oily viscosity with heavy legs running down the side of the glass. The Ex-Sherry casks usually lend a very rich color to the maturing spirit, in any case, Glengoyne also states that they do not add coloring to this malt.

Glengoyne 21’s Nose

  • Notes: Nuts, mint, funky banana
  • Nosefeel: Warming

The nose is just as full and rich as the appearance indicates. I don’t even have to get anywhere near the glass to enjoy the delicate aromas emanating from the liquid. An abundance of roasted nuts greets me first before I sense a prickly blast of mint, ethereal freshness and liveliness. Even after 21 years of aging, this Single Malt is vibrant and youthful.


Soft, funky tones, reminding me of overripe banana follow suit. There is a mellow aroma of caramelized brioche, bitter tea leaves, all accompanied by a splash of light soy sauce. That umami character quietly sits in the back, just adding an extra element and a layer of excitement to the nasal expression.

Rich sherry is the underlying theme, every now and then intermingling with dried fruits, primarily dark morello cherries, a thick marmalade-like sweetness, encompassing the bitter orange peel, and even some grapefruit zest.

After a few minutes, the dessert-like qualities come to the forefront: Christmas pudding, pain perdu and chocolate-drizzled raisins round off the olfactory.

Glengoyne 21’s Palate & Mouthfeel

  • Primary Taste: Salty
  • Mouthfeel: Oily
  • Opening:  Cherry marmalade, caramelized walnut, white pepper
  • Heart: Sea salt, myrrh, Christmas pudding
  • Finish: Long [baking spice, orange zest, black tea]

Superb elegance is my first impression. Even though the nose is so concentrated, so compact, full and rich, the palette feels less intense but rather nuanced, delicate and slender. It feels like this Single Malt has no intention of showing off, flexing all its muscles.

All the different elements are most elegantly interwoven, with a very refined, soft touch. There’s white pepper, mixed with a taste of fusty cellars, just before the caramel sweetness brings it all back to a mellow, creamy momentum. The Christmas pudding I sensed in the nose makes a charming appearance, before slowly transcending into an array of traditional baking spices, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.


Towards the back of the palette, orange rind and the lively fruitiness lighten up the experience. My bitter receptors are ever so gently stimulated by a tea bag-ish reminiscence that also evokes memories of Costa Rican tobacco, before the finish shifts into a focused mineral, slightly salty, yet superbly long after taste.

How To Drink Glengoyne 21 Single Malt Scotch Whisky

As we often state in our reviews, the best way to drink a beverage is the way that you enjoy it the most. However, we are always happy to provide you with a few serving suggestions.

Obviously, this is not your standard go-to cocktail whisky. This is a most elegant Single Malt you would preferably try neat in a Glencairn glass or a standard tulip-shaped nosing glass.

If you prefer to have your whisky on the rocks, make sure to reach for a large chunk of crystal-clear ice.

At 43% ABV, Glengoyne 21 won’t need an awful lot of dilution, despite the usual splash of water having a positive impact on the olfactory bandwidth by opening up the aromas quite a bit. This one is perfect as it is.

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Glengoyne 21’s Cocktail Suggestions

As mentioned above, Glengoyne 21 is typically served neat. If, however, you really want to start mixing and messing around with it, keep it simple and make the malt the star of the show.

Best Pairings With Glengoyne 21


This is such an easy-to-drink Single Malt. Nevertheless, accompanying your dram with a few snacks or even a cigar can never be wrong.

I found myself reaching for some walnuts as the preferred finger food snack every now and again. Dates or dried figs could also be  a lovely pairing, gracefully underlining the sherry-esque nature of the Glengoyne 21.


When it comes to cigars, I’d be looking for something elegant and smooth. You’ll want to light up a cigar that is just as complex, just as refined and nuanced in a most subtle but characterful way.

My cigar of choice is a Don Carlos from Arturo Fuente, preferably the Eye of the Shark. This is an all-time classic and you just can’t go wrong with it.

Overall Experience & Value For Money

The Glengoyne 21 comes in a very elegant, long and slim bottle, proudly featuring the emblem of the distillery, which is also embossed on the back of the glass. The statement “I guarantee that this Single Malt whiskey has been maturing in oak cask for a duration of at least 21 years.”, bearing the signature of the distillery manager is a nice little add-on. Thus it has a personal and familiar touch, instead of just a plain-odd, anonymous corporate look and feel.


This most certainly is an occasional dram. It’s not a cheap whisky but given the overall price evolution of Scottish Single Malt, it’s still very good value for money.

On a side note, Glengoyne distillery is a most beautiful and picturesque spot, that you should visit when traveling through Scotland. Just north of Glasgow, it’s a charming place and for me, a must-see whenever I’m in the area.

Closing Thoughts

For many years, Glengoyne was more of an under-the-radar malt, yet it’s slowly but steadily turning into a much respected and much-loved sip by malt maniacs. I’ve always been a fan of the distillery’s sensory signature and the character of their whiskys.

Furthermore, the fact that the spirit is distilled in the Highlands, before being transferred to the warehouses across the street for further aging in the Lowlands, makes for a fun story to tell over a dram or two.

Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!

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"A most elegant Single Malt, done the old-fashioned way, offering a most charming whisky experience."
Bespoke Unit Rating: ★★★★★

Further Reading

Once you’ve finished reading our review, feel free to peruse our wide range of related content such as the following resources:

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